E.W. Scripps School of Journalism Associate Professor and Institute of International Journalism Director Yusuf Kalyango, left, addresses media and students during a press conference announcing a partnership with the U.S. Soccer Federation in Scripps Hall on Monday, Nov. 4, 2013. / Photo by Bob Stewart
OHIO’s Scripps JSchool secures partnership for coverage of World Cup 2014
By Erin Roberts
ATHENS, Ohio (Nov. 4, 2013)—The E.W. Scripps School of Journalism in the Scripps College of Communication at Ohio University has entered into an exclusive partnership with the U.S. Soccer Federation for the upcoming World Cup 2014 in Brazil. The partnership will allow selected Ohio University journalism students to travel to Brazil to work as interns with the U.S. Soccer Federation in support of the U.S. Men’s National Team in summer 2014.
This is the first time the U.S. Soccer Federation is partnering with any university in the country to have students provide all forms of communication and media-related services to the Federation during the World Cup as it administers and manages the national team’s participation in this global event.
“This is ground-breaking from their perspective and from ours,” said E.W. Scripps School of Journalism Director Bob Stewart.
As part of the agreement, the U.S. Soccer Federation will provide all-expense paid training in the U.S. prior to the event, tickets to all World Cup matches in which the U.S. participates, and chartered air travel within Brazil during the tournament for ten student interns from the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism. Associate Professor and Institute for International Journalism (IIJ) Director Yusuf Kalyango, who had a large part in securing the partnership, said he was surprised by the financial generosity of the Federation.
“We are very excited about this opportunity,” he said. “We never expected (that kind of support.)”
The groundwork for the partnership began more than a year ago in August 2012 when Kalyango and then-graduate assistant Ashley Furrow, who now teaches at the University of Memphis, began talking to U.S. Soccer Federation officials about the possibility of students managing the role of strategic communications for the U.S. Men’s Soccer Team in the event of a World Cup berth in 2014.
“Until the U.S. actually got into the World Cup, this was just an idea, just a concept,” said Stewart. “But you don’t start working on that day, you work in advance.”
On Oct. 15, after more than a year of phone-and-email communication, Kalyango and Furrow traveled to Chicago to meet with the U.S. Soccer Federation’s executives at its headquarters to formally discuss the parameters of the internship.
Kalyango said 24 semifinalists will be interviewed on campus in March, and U.S. Soccer Federation representatives will travel to campus to be a part of the selection committee. Ten students and two alternates will be chosen. While in Brazil, students will have full access to the U.S. Soccer players, coaches, executives and family members, and will assist the U.S. Soccer Federation with all the logistics of holding daily press conferences and briefings. They will tweet, write stories, shoot videos, take photos, and post on Facebook and other media sites administered by U.S. Soccer. They also will occasionally provide human-interest stories to the IIJ Blog, the international student-news blog of the E. W. Scripps School of Journalism.
Already, students are dreaming big.
“I've been looking forward to this since the Olympic interview process in 2012 when they told applicants that this U.S. Soccer partnership would be a possibility,” said senior journalism major Todd Ward. “I've been keeping an eye out for it ever since. It's a great opportunity, and I'm really excited to apply."
Students were also enthusiastic about the announcement on Twitter, using the hashtag #Scripps2Brazil. Alexandra Dosmann, a junior tweeted: "#Scripps2Brazil has been all I wanted since becoming a student here at OU. I am beyond excited,” while sophomore Kaleb Carter chimed in, “My heart was beating out of my chest considering the mere possibility of attending the World Cup next year. … Seriously, I'm going to be excited for the next week that the mere possibility of #Scripps2Brazil exists.”
The U.S. Soccer executives and an OHIO faculty member will supervise the students’ work. Students will be responsible for travel to and from Brazil, lodging, meals, U.S. visas and Ohio University Study Abroad fees and/or tuition.